Many New Testament scholars still operate under the mistaken notion that all of the problems of New Testament Greek grammar were worked out in the nineteenth century. This false assumption arises from an ignorance of developments in the field of modern linguistics.
In focusing on one significant aspect of grammar, the semantic and/or syntactic value of the articular infinitive, Burk undertakes to move beyond the standard New Testament grammar books. His question is: What does the article contribute to the total linguistic meaning of the infinitive in the Greek of the New Testament? To answer it he uses methods and results from modern linguistic analysis, an approach far different from that of traditional grammar.
Burk argues that the article with the infinitive is different from the article with other kinds of words. With other kinds of words the article encodes ideas such as definiteness, substantivization, and anaphora. The article with the infinitive, however, does not denote ideas such as these. With the infinitive the article is a function marker that signifies a grammatical-structural relation that may not otherwise be apparent. Discussing many examples from the New Testament, Burk shows that his thesis has benefits not only for our understanding of Hellenistic Greek grammar but also for our exegesis of the New Testament.
Denny Burk is Assistant Professor of New Testament, Criswell College, Dallas, Texas.
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